Fresh facts emerged at the weekend to explain why President Goodluck Jonathan is yet to fire Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as the national chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) despite the insistence of the governors elected on the platform of the party that he should get rid of him for peace to reign in the party.
The relationship between Tukur and the PDP governors, tagged “rebels” and led by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, has been everything but cordial. Although the governors have told the president to fire Tukur, he is yet to do so because of the current structure of the PDP’s hierarchy, which will produce Amaechi’s candidate as interim PDP boss in the event of Tukur being forced out of office.
Tukur’s problem started when he and the governor of Adamawa State, Alhaji Murtala Nyako, clashed over the control of the party in the state. Tukur, who hails from Adamawa, has openly endorsed his son as a possible successor to Nyako and runs a faction of the PDP in the state to realise his dream.
The governor is also alleged to be grooming one of his sons for the job while Tukur prefers his own son, a former member of the House of Representatives.
The fear of the unknown made the governors pitch tent with Nyako and every effort made to reconcile them was to no avail. The clash has now been brought to the national scene and Tukur is being asked to go. He toured round the geopolitical zones to reconcile various factions of the party but the governors would not allow him to succeed and this made Chief Tony Anenih, the party’s BoT chairman to begin a tour of the PDP- controlled states to win the governors back to the PDP.
An informed source said President Jonathan knows the implication of keeping Tukur on the seat but he is in a dilemma as the national deputy chairman of the PDP, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, is a loyalist of Governor Amaechi, who has been involved in a face-off with Jonathan over his alleged presidential ambition in 2015.
Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State and Amaechi are allegedly working behind the scenes to run against Jonathan-Sambo ticket in 2015. Amaechi however added a twist to the political permutation during his recent visit to Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano where he hinted of his readiness to be the presidential running mate of the governor in 2015.
“We all know that Tukur has lost his popularity among the governors. This, among other things, has led to the creation of the PDP Governors’ Forum to weaken Amaechi and his group, but this has not worked. But if Tukur is dropped, who succeeds him? His deputy was nominated by Amaechi and this would spell a political doom for the president.
The other way out of it is to dissolve the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) and conduct a fresh election for all the national officers and, fortunately for us, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared their elections illegal, but we are yet to decide how to go about it,” the source said.
He however accused the Rivers State governor of being selfish in his fight with Tukur when his main target is President Jonathan, but he knows that, with Tukur in charge, it might be difficult for him to realise his dream.
“Since we know that Amaechi is using his position as the chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), to pursue his selfish ambition at the expense of the party’s interest, we have created the PDP Governors’ Forum where the party’s interest would be well defended.”
Although a presidential aide was quoted as saying his principal could support the move to unseat Tukur if that would please the governors, he quickly added, “What is the possibility that removing Tukur would not create another problem with Amaechi’s boy as the deputy chairman if allowed to step into Tukur’s shoes? This is why President Jonathan is in a dilemma over the whole scenario.”
Checks show that Jonathan is seriously considering the dissolution of the NWC option as this would help in injecting people with fresh ideas into the system. If it sailed through, former Governor Adamu Muazu of Bauchi State might replace Tukur but the cold war between him and the incumbent governor of the state is another barrier to the move.
Why NEC meeting is on hold
The continued delay of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the PDP has been attributed to irreconcilable differences between the governors of the party and the presidency. Three weeks ago, the PDP National Working Committee (NWC) had, in a press release, announced that it was set to hold the NEC of the PDP which had been long overdue.
However, LEADERSHIP SUNDAY gathered that the NEC, which comprises the governors of the party and other top PDP leaders, has had the meeting shifted on several issues; the endorsement of its new constitution is yet to be resolved.
Another reason for the development, according to a PDP chieftain who spoke to LEADERSHIP SUNDAY on condition of anonymity, was that both Tukur and the presidency were treading softly on the meeting.
But the source said the presidency, which is leaned towards Tukur’s continued stay in office, is not willing to take any chance on the matter for now.
Against a NEC meeting which ought to hold at least quarterly in a year, the party’s last NEC meeting was in July, 2012.